Monday, April 09, 2007


The Zombieslayer has moved here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Grass is Always Greener

Just wanted to add one thing to my book review in defense of the author. She did say being a woman isn't all roses either. It's just that she had the misconception that being a man was easy. She learned the hard way that it wasn't. Doors don't magically open for you, and you'll find people will hate you for no logical reason.

The grass will always be greener on the other side and none of us know how hard the other has it until they walk in that other person's shoes for a year and a half. Anyways, if you haven't read my review, give it a read. I loved this book.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Book Review of Self-Made Man

I first heard of this book from the San Francisco newspaper's weekly book review section. They gave it a glowing review, and so I've danced around buying this book for weeks before finally picking it up and taking it to the cash register.

Norah Vincent successfully managed to disguise herself as a man for a year and a half. As a feminist, she had her misconceptions of what it was to be a man, that got dismissed almost immediately when she started walking in a man's shoes. She spent six months in a working class bowling league, three weeks in a monastery, several months with a Men's Movement group, and even attended their all-male retreat. She worked Red Bull jobs (those fly-by-night sales companies that hire and fire on a daily basis), went to strip clubs, and dated women as a man. She even backed down from a fist fight with a scary biker gang.

I got into the book within the first few pages and couldn't put it down. Vincent has a writing style that makes me envious. She says things that I'm even afraid to say. Her insights are incredible, and she maintains a sense of humor throughout.

Another thing I really liked about the book is she matured greatly as the book went on. She admittedly had her preconceptions about what it was to be a man from her Woman's Studies classes. She thought it would be all confidence, power, and privilege and learned the hard way that nothing was farther than the truth. By the time she finished her year and a half of drag, she checked into the loonie bin, got psychological counseling, and was pretty fucking glad to be a woman again.

She learned women have their advantages too, especially when it comes to love, sex, and emotions. However, she'll admit men have the edge when it comes to friendship, big time. She regretted women friendships are often shallow and backstabbing while male friendships tend to be a lot more genuine.

In summary, the woman can write. This is the best non-fiction book I've read in years, and it may be hands down the gutsiest. I'll leave you with a few choice quotes.

On dating: Dating women as a man was a lesson in female power, and it made me, of all things, into a momentary misogynist, which, I suppose was the best indicator that my experiment had worked. I saw my own sex from the other side, and I disliked women irrationally for a while because of it. I disliked their superiority, their accusatory smiles, their entitlement to choose or dash me with a fingertip, an execution so lazy, so effortless, it made the defeats and even the successes unbearably humiliating. Typical male power feels by comparison like a blunt instrument, its salvos and field strategies laughably remedial next to the damage a woman can do with a single cutting word: no

On the limited range of male emotion: That is probably the part I hated the most. As a guy you get about a three-note emotional range. That's it, at least as far as the outside world is concerned. Women get octaves, chromatic scales of tears and joys and anxieties and despairs and erotic flamboyance, and now after the black bra feminism, we even get vitriol, too. We get to be bitches, at least some of the time, and people write proud books about it. But guys get little more than bravado and rage. Forget doubt. Forget hurt. They take punches. They take care of business. And their intestines liquefy under the stress.

Vincent laced each chapter with humor which I won't quote because it's more funny in the context, and you'll just have to trust me on this one. If you have any interest whatsoever in gender issues, definitely pick this one up. Or if you just like to read, it's entertaining at worst. Two warnings - Vincent is honest, and doesn't hold back on vulgarity, and the second warning is it will shatter some preconceptions you might have on gender. Nine dead zombies (out of 10).